Sights and landmarks in Szombathely:
Photos: Zsolt Mészáros
The Main Square
The main square is the spiritual and cultural center of Szombathely and it’s a popular spot for people to meet. It has had a triangular shape since the 13th century. The Trinity Column dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It used to be in front of the church in the past, only movedto the main square in 2000. Although many houses were damaged in the Second World War – as was the whole city – by bombing, many beautiful secession and baroque houses remain to this day and can be admired. Take a nice coffee break, enjoy the pleasant weather and the atmosphere.
The Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace
The Cathedral of Szombathely is the third largest church in Hungary. According to the plans of Melchior Hefele, it was built between 1791 and 1814 in the “Zopfstil” style, with some classicist elements to it. It stands on the site of the demolished castle church. The Bishop’s Palace is only a few meters south of the cathedral. It was built in 1778-83 in the late baroque style with “Zopfstil” style ornaments.
The Sala Terrena, on the ground floor of the Bishop’s Palace, is considered to be the oldest museum in Hungary. Bishop Johann Szily kept all the stones here (labeled!), that were found during the construction of the cathedral. They are either from the medieval castle or from the Roman period. These finds were admired even by King Mathias. The walls are decorated with frescoes by Dorffmeister, which represent the ancient monuments of Savaria.
The Iseum Savariense is the most significant ancient architectural monument of the city from the 2nd century. The sanctuary was built in honor of the Egyptian goddess Isis. Due to the size of the temple and the richness of the monuments found here, the Iseum in Savaria was most likely the most important Isis worship center in the Danube region.
The Ruin Garden
Some of the most impressive Roman ruins in Hungary have been uncovered here, such as an original section of the former Amber Road. The museum shows the largest cohesive part of the remains of ancient Savaria: the Imperial Palace, the public bath, the customs house, fragments of the mosaic surfaces, and the castle.
The rowing and fishing pond is the green heart of the city.
The water surface of approx. 10 hectares offers optimal opportunities for relaxation, recreation and sport in a wonderful environment.
The Arboretum of Kámon
The 27-hectare botanical garden on the outskirts of the city is the most beautiful collection garden in Pannonia. In addition to the evergreens and firs (including mother firs), visitors can marvel at the thousands of flowers of the rododendron, the rich magnolia and the Japanese maple collection, as well as the 120-year-old giant trees.
The 5 km long walking path is an extraordinarily designed system of ponds, benches and tables invite you to a comfortable and at the same time adventurous stay.
Historical theme park
The historical theme park awaits visitors who are interested in the old fortress systems or in the everyday life of a military camp in ancient times. In a unique interactive exhibition you get a better sense of the natural sciences, you even try out the weapons and various handtools.
The Szombathely synagogue is one of the first ever synagogues with towers. It was designed by Ludwig Schoene with oriental and romantic elements and has been used as a concert hall since 1975.
Next to the synagogue is the memorial to the Jewish abducted in World War II.
Adventure City is one of the largest and most friendly playgrounds in Europe. In the center of the playground is the eponymous Adventure Castle. The 7-meter-high wooden structure, erected by a German contractor, is every child’s dream, with ladders, climbing frames, tube slides and mazes. In addition to the Adventure Castle, there is also a football pitch, a slide, a rope course, various tricky swings, water games, sandboxes for the little ones, climbing frames, a submarine, and a new favorite, a voluminous willow maze.
Sights near Szombathely:
Photo: Zsolt Mészáros
Abbey Church of Ják
(13 km from Szombathely)
The Ják Abbey Church is one of the most famous and beautiful art monuments in Hungary in Romanesque style. It was built between 1214 and 1256.
Its magnificent gate is adorned with fine artistic sculptures, the interior of the church is divided into three parts by huge pillars, the frescoes on the walls are 700 years old.
The similar chapel of St. Jacob – opposite the church – is also an important artistic monument.
(20 km from Szombathely)
Kőszeg is one of the most charming little towns in Hungary, a real jewelry box with fantastic events and a unique historical city center. The historic center with the renovated squares offers tourists many sights and interesting programs.
Írottkő nature park
(20 km from Szombathely)
Starting from Kőszeg, the land provides excellent hiking routes/paths – one can go all the way to the Stájer-házak, to Hétforrás (Seven Fountains), to the Watchtower (Óház) or one can also have look around from the lookout built on top of Írottkő, from where the panorama of the Alps unfolds.
Írottkő is not only the highest point of the Kőszegi Mountains, but also the highest peak of Transdanubia and Burgenland in Austria. The two countries were once separated by the Iron Curtain, the memory of which still preserves the landscape today.
In 1891 the first wooden lookout tower was built, which stood there until 1909. After a short break, the Írottkő lookout tower – already made from stone – was completed in 1913 and has been open to visitors since 1990.
The summit and the building of the lookout tower are separated into two sections by the Hungarian-Austrian border. 5/12 of the area is on the Hungarian side. The entrance stands on the Austrian side, but it can be reached from both countries via the hiking trails leading here. One historical curiosity of the building – which was renovated in 2010 – is that the iron curtain fence on the Hungarian side stretched, so the lookout tower could only be reached from Austria until dismantling.
If the weather is clear in the north-northeast, you can see Lake Neusiedl (Fertő-tó) from the viewing terrace on its top, which the two countries share. In the southeast you can see the blue water of Lake Balaton. In the northwest the snowy, jagged peaks of the Schneeberg and Rax are visible in the distance.
(30 km from Szombathely)
The most important attraction of the settlement is the two types of medicinal waters found there, which laid the foundation for the development of the small town. Located in the suburbs, the spa complex is a real four-season entertainment option for young and old alike. If you are visiting Sárvár, don't forget to visit the famous medieval Nádasdy Castle.
(28 km from Szombathely)
Set in a 14-hectare park covered with shady trees, the spa offers 34 swimming pools, more than 5,000 square meters of water, a spa, a beach and an adventure pool.
Holdfényliget adventure park in Gyöngyösfalu
(13 km from Szombathely)
Holdfény Liget, the breathtaking and magical adventure park offers various exciting opportunities for children as well as adults to have fun, to test their own limits, to escape everyday life, to relax, or simply to enjoy the forest in a deck chair!
The Őrség is a historical and ethnographic region located mostly in Western Hungary, to a lesser extent in the Muravidék region of Slovenia. It is a region of Hungary rich in natural treasures, historical and cultural values.
We find this landscape in the south-western corner of Vas County, where the conquering Hungarians installed guards to protect the western gate, who could watch the border from the heights, who were given various privileges in return for their work, and were directly under the king's rule. Hence the name of the landscape: Őrség.
The villages of Őrség are located in garlands. A small group of houses is loosely or not at all connected to the next. The multiple settlement structure is typical; isolation, poor accessibility helped the defense. Each time it consists of only a few houses, their outbuildings and courtyards, typically on hilltops and deforestation. They originally got their names from the families living there, their geographical location, less often some other characteristic. The smaller villages consisted of 2–4, the larger ones 6–8.